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Final arguments set in trial of man accused of killing Marine, wife


Monday, July 21st, 2014
Issue 30, Volume 18.


RIVERSIDE - Closing arguments are scheduled today in the trial of the remaining defendant accused of killing a Marine sergeant and his wife in a home-invasion robbery at the newlyweds' French Valley property.

Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 27, could face the death penalty if convicted of the 2008 slayings of 26-year-old Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak and her husband, 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak.

The couple were shot execution-style as they lay bound, gagged and blindfolded in the living room of their home.

Last year, three members of Janek Pietrzak's helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton -- Kevin Darnell Cox and Tyrone Lloyd Miller, both 27, along with 25-year-old Emrys Justin John -- were convicted of the killings.

Cox and Miller were sentenced to death, while John received two consecutive life prison terms.

Sykes, their admitted cohort, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, along with special circumstance allegations of killing during the course of a robbery, killing during a burglary and taking multiple lives in the same crime, as well as a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a sexual assault with a foreign instrument.

Sykes' attorney, Doug Myers, told jurors in his opening statement two weeks ago that his client "neither intended or wanted either victim to be killed."

"They were shot at the last minute," Myers said. "Mr. Sykes was powerless to do anything about it."

Myers acknowledged that his client had been out on a previous "job" with the defendants -- an Oceanside home invasion robbery -- and had assumed that when he went with them to the Pietrzak property at 31319 Bermuda Ave., it would be more of the same.

"He did not know that killing was on anyone's mind," the attorney said. "Tyrone Miller and Emrys John had some kind of personal agenda that my client had no part in."

Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon countered that Sykes was an active and willing participant in the murders, which he characterized as an "execution."

"Quiana was shot twice -- once in the head and once in the back of the neck," DeLimon said, noting that she was killed after her husband and had to know what was about to occur.

According to the prosecutor, in the predawn hours of Oct. 15, 2008, the defendants wanted to get inside the Pietrzaks' two-story house to steal their belongings -- but also to engage "in the sexual humiliation" of the victims.

Miller testified last year that he was displeased with Pietrzak because the young sergeant had told him only a day or two earlier that he would not be promoted to corporal.

The defendants confessed that they were mainly interested in the "stuff" they might be able steal from the victims, who had received numerous gifts at their wedding that August.

Cox, John, Miller and Sykes, armed with shotguns, forced their way into the victims' home after Cox rang the Advertisement
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doorbell and persuaded Pietrzak to unlock the front door so the two could speak. Pietrzak turned off his home security system and opened the door, whereupon the defendants rushed and beat him into submission.

The couple were bound and gagged and thrown face-down on a sofa. After spending 90 minutes ransacking the house and hauling stolen goods to a vehicle parked outside, Miller and Sykes sexually assaulted Quiana, DeLimon alleged.

John shot the couple with a 9mm handgun.

Sykes is being held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.


Testimony to begin in trial of man accused of killing newlyweds

RIVERSIDE - Opening statements are scheduled today in the trial of an ex-Marine accused of joining three comrades in killing a young sergeant and his wife during a home invasion robbery in French Valley.

Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 27, could face the death penalty if convicted in the October 2008 slayings of 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak.

Sykes is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, along with special circumstance allegations of killing during the course of a robbery, killing during a burglary and taking multiple lives in the same crime, as well as a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a sexual assault with a foreign instrument.

Testimony is expected to last several weeks, and if Sykes is convicted, a penalty trial will follow. He remains held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

His three codefendants were all convicted of the murders last year. Kevin Darnell Cox and Tyrone Lloyd Miller, both 27, were sentenced to death, while 25-year-old Emrys Justin John was sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms.

The men, along with Sykes, were assigned to the same helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton. Miller was under the direct supervision of Janek Pietrzak.

According to Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon, the four Marines wanted to get inside the Pietrzaks' two-story house at 31319 Bermuda Ave. to steal their belongings -- but also to engage "in the sexual humiliation" of the victims.

Miller testified that he was displeased with Pietrzak because the young sergeant had told him only a day or two earlier that there was no way he would be promoted to corporal.

The defendants confessed to sheriff's investigators that they were mainly interested in the "stuff" they might be able steal from the victims, who had received numerous gifts at their wedding that summer.

Cox, John and Miller, armed with shotguns, forced their way into the newlyweds' home in the predawn hours of Oct. 15, 2008, after Cox persuaded Pietrzak to unlock the door so the two could speak. The men rushed Pietrzak, beating him into submission, according to testimony.

The couple were bound and gagged and thrown face-down on a sofa. After spending 90 minutes ransacking the house and hauling stolen goods to a vehicle parked outside, Miller and Sykes stripped Quiana and sexually assaulted her, according to the prosecution.

John shot the couple execution-style with a 9mm handgun.


 

3 comments

Comment Profile ImageMrs. Jennings
Comment #1 | Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 at 12:51 am
I knew this young man when he was growing up. He.was ALWAYS pleasant, kind, and very respectable. I'm not sure as to what really took place. But, I KNOW for sure he's not the animal the media is trying to make him. I believe that he went there to rob them. Not to kill or assault them. I believe he just kept the wrong company.
Comment Profile Imagegrunt
Comment #2 | Monday, Aug 4, 2014 at 11:25 am
Mrs Jennings - even if, as you say, he ONLY went there to rob them, he is NOT a "pleasant, kind, and very respectable" person. The racisl overtones of this crime DO make him an animal.
Comment Profile ImageKurt
Comment #3 | Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014 at 8:45 am
"pleasant, kind and very respectable".

Performs home invasions.


Am I missing something here?

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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